Tuesday, 17 February 2015


Busting rocks in a Proc

The What

As the name would suggest, mining is the harvesting of mineral resources from celestial features - asteroid belts, ice belts, or gas clouds. It's one of the easiest ways to make ISK: unlike 'rats, rocks don't shoot back. However, it comes with its own risks, most notably bumping and ganking. Despite the risks, it's still one of the most boring forms of PVE; grinding, pure and simple.

The Where

There's something to mine everywhere in New Eden - usually multiple kinds of things, so it can often be hard to know what's the most lucrative choice. The rule here is the same as with all PVE: more risk, more reward. Asteroid belts in highest sec systems have the smallest rocks with generally the lowest worth, working their way up through to the lower sec systems, then with better rocks and the other better value options becoming available in the lawless areas of space - lowsec, nullsec and wormholes. Disclaimer: I'm only familiar with high sec and wormholes at this point in time.

Huffing gas in a C1 wormhole

The How

You warp in to the belt or site. You target the rock or gas. You switch on your lasers or harvesters. You collect ore. Mining is one of the simplest activities in EVE, which is probably why it is one of the career paths many players try early in their career. However, there is still quite a bit to think about in order to optimise mining, even for a brand new player or account:

  • Rule of solo mining #101: don't sit on the warp in - move your ship to the other side of the belt. Don't be the low hanging fruit for gankers. 
  • It's generally not a good idea to refine your minerals until you have all of your reprocessing skills to V and sufficient standings with the corporation whose station you are using to refine. Generally, taking the time to train an industrial like the Miasmos and haul all that ore to a market hub will be a better option initially. For more info on reprocessing, check out the Eve Uni Wiki.
  • It's generally worth checking which are the most valuable rocks to mine, not just in your local area but in the market hubs through a site like Eve Central. If you're at the point where you are reprocessing minerals to sell, then it's worth going even more in depth on an ore calculator with a site like Fuzzworks or Grismar. At the end of the day rocks are rocks and spending more than a few minutes looking around for something better cuts down your overall ISK/hr efficiency, but it's worth knowing what to look for.
  • If the drive for bigger and better rocks sends you into 0.5 or 0.6 security space, don't make the mistake of thinking your Retriever or Covetor will be safe. Predators are out there and they live for juicy killmails from expensive barges. A well tanked Procurer can survive the 30 seconds it usually takes Concord to respond to a ganking attempt. Stay tuned for some fits.
  • That being said, Rettys and Covs have their place - generally in fleet mining. Even in a more basic ship, the yield and range boost from an Orca pilot can make mining considerably easier and improve your ISK/hr quite a bit. Flying a well organised fleet op with Covetors and an Orca/hauler combo can pull over 10m ISK/hr, even in highsec. 
Warning: not all mining ops include celebratory fireworks...

For a more in-depth guide to mining, check out the Eve Uni Wiki page.

The Why

As suggested in the How, mining is one of the easiest ways to start making decent ISK, and relatively simple to get into - the tutorial missions give you a Venture, which is a solid ship to start flying and my tool of choice for Wormhole gas, which can provide way better income than you ever get mining in highsec (helped along by the rise in demand due to the ongoing release of T3 destroyers). Even if you find it bores you to tears, it's a part of the gameplay that everyone will have a brush with at one point or another, simply because minerals are the base of the whole EVE economy.

Many players mine because they need the minerals for manufacturing, but (in EVE and IRL) I'm no industrialist. For a grinder like myself, always looking towards the possible income, solo highsec ore mining is one of the least effective ways I can spend my time. But it's relaxing, simple, and, assuming the above precautions have been taken, fairly safe. If there isn't a fleet on first thing in the morning and I'm in highsec, I'll usually undock and pick up a hold ore two in the Proc while I make breakfast, etc. And there's even AFK mining - which I'll cover in another post - that allows you to play EVE and make ISK while doing the groceries, laundry, etc.

The income from my minerals is only a small portion of the month's total, but it appeals to the proletarian in me to be toiling away at the lowest tier of industry.

Monday, 9 February 2015

The J Word

Universal Narrative

Another war dec finds me flying around from A to B in a stealth bomber that I just trained for and planning to buy my first Ishtar. It's an unusual level to be flying at with 42m skillpoints, or close to 7 years in the game.

Other players have different goals to me. They enjoy the rush of PVP more than I do, or the power trip that comes from skilling up for a capital ship and being the biggest fish in the (rather large) small pond. Others just enjoy the graphics, mechanics or the social interaction. For me these things are all very appealing, but something else about EVE Online appeals to me more: the unique sense of narrative.

Narrative is powerful. It's how we understand the whole universe. As a student of creative writing, I've made it my job to understand the different narratives being presented to us - not just in fictional works but in the media, politics, etc. We fit all the pieces of these different things together into coherent narratives to make sense of them; we even do it to things where it might not make sense, like the behaviour of our co-workers, the weather, our own plans for the future...

EVE, more than other games, allows us to shape a narrative in very special ways. That's what sets it apart from other MMOs, what has kept me coming back to EVE after bouts of Minecraft, Civ IV, Zelda and Borderlands. "Player Created Content" is the watchword in this sandbox.

Does that mean I should head out to nullsec, play the politics and sovereignty game, where grand narratives of empires and colonization (without the negative consequences to indigenous peoples) are written by players every day? Mebbe I will at some point. I certainly listen to enough podcasts to do so.

But one of the main reasons I'm writing this blog is to point out that there are narratives in EVE, even for high-sec care bears. Every succesful hauling trip to Jita is a narrative of cat-and-mouse (and every unsucessful one a bad horror story). Every succesful fleet op - or even the slow, patient game of growing your wealth - it's all narrative. And we have our own grand narratives, too - wars between Marmite and CODE., the fights over highsec POCOs. There is content to be found, even for the carebears.